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Full text of "Evaluating Communications with Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park"

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE 

RESEARCH/RESOURCES MANAGEMENT REPORT SER- 75 



Evaluating Communications with Visitors 
to Great Smoky Mountains National Park 




United States Department of the Interior 

National Park Service 
Southeast Region 



The Research/Resources Management Series of the Natural Science and 
Research Division, National Park Service, Southeast Regional Office, is 
the established in-house medium for distributing scientific information 
to park Superintendents, resource management specialists, and other 
National Park Service personnel in the parks of the Southeast Region. 
The papers in the Series also contain information potentially useful to 
other Park Service areas outside the Southeast Region and may benefit 
external (non-NPS) researchers working within units of the National Park 
System. The Series provides for the retention of research information in 
the biological, physical, and social sciences and makes possible more 
complete in-house evaluation of internal research, technical, and 
consultant reports. 

The Series includes: 

1. Research reports which directly address resource management 
problems in the parks. 

2. Papers which are primarily literature reviews and/or 
bibliographies of existing information relative to park 
resources or resource management problems. 

3. Presentations of basic resource inventory data. 

4. Reports of contracted scientific research studies funded 
or supported by the National Park Service. 

5. Other reports and papers considered compatible to the Series, 
including results of applicable university or independent 
research relating to the preservation, protection, and 
management of resources administered by the National Park 
Service. 



Southeast Regional Research/Resources Management Reports are produced by 
the Natural Science and Research Division, Southeast Regional Office. 
Copies may be obtained from: 

National Park Service 

Southeast Regional Office 

Natural Science and Research Division 

75 Spring Street, S.W. 

Atlanta, Georgia 30303 



NOTE: Use of trade names does not constitute or imply U.S. Government 
endorsement of commercial products. 



EVALUATING COMMUNICATIONS WITH VISITORS 
TO GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK 

by John D. Peine, Craig A. Walker, Paul H. Motts and William E. Hammitt 



NATIONAL PARK SERVICE - Southeast Region 
Research/Resources Management Report SER-75 



Uplands Field Research Laboratory 
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
Route 2, Box 260 
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738 

^Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries 
University of Tennessee 
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901 



December 1984 



UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE 




Peine, John D. , Craig A. Walker, Paul H. Motts and William E. Hammitt. 
1984. Evaluating Communications with Visitors to Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park. U. S. Department of the Interior, 
National Park Service, Research/Resources Management Report 
SER-75. 45 pp. 



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

The study reported here spanned two years and was conducted at Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina. First, managers and 
personnel directly in contact with the public were interviewed concerning their 
opinion on which priority messages should be conveyed and how effectively they 
are conveyed. Park visitors, in turn, were either interviewed or unobtrusively 
observed as to their information preferences and their awareness and utilization 
of the following park media: park newspaper, short-range radio stations, and park 
bulletin boards. Interviewing was conducted at Sugarlands Visitor Center for the 
bulletin board, at the Noah "Bud" Ogle farm for the short-range radio stations, 
and at the three major exit points from the park (Gatlinburg, Cherokee, and 
Townsend) for the General Media questionnaire. The General Media questionnaire 
covered all three media mentioned above. 

For park managers, priority messages focused on resources protection and health 
and safety. Visitor prioiities focused on how to enjoy the park. A literature 
search concerning principles of media application was also conducted. Two other 
elements of the study not reported here included use of the touch screen computer 
in a visitor center and communications at the backcountry permit registration 
stations. 

The park newspaper is the primary vehicle available to managers to convey 
detailed information to visitors. No other medium generated at the park level 
has as great a potential to affect behavior patterns. It is the primary voice 
of the Superintendent in the park. Only 39 percent of the visitors queried in 
the General Media questionnaire were aware that a newspaper exists. Only 11 percent 
of them used it. Even 40 percent of those who stopped at a visitor center where 
is the paper is distributed were unaware of its existence. However, those who 
stopped at a visitor center were more likely to be aware of the paper than those 
who did not stop. Campers and those who stayed longer in the park were more likely 
to be aware of the newspaper than were their counterparts. Campers were more likely 
than noncampers to use the newspaper, be aware that an interpretive program schedule 
is included in it, and to attend programs based on what they read. Only 3 percent 
of the visitors surveyed attended an interpretive program after reading about it 
in the paper, but 48 percent of those who read the paper and knew it contained 
an interpretive progam attended one based on reading about it. Similarly, 42 
percent of those who read the front page article did something based on what they 
had read. These findings suggest that the paper can affect behavior, once read 
by the visitor. It was concluded that the newspaper needed better marketing and 
improved layout and design. 

The radio system has the potential to reach a greater percentage of park 
visitors than any other medium available to park management. The radio 
provides a means to penetrate the sanctity of the visitor's private environment 
where most of the park visit is likely to take place: inside the private 
vehicle. Although .75 percent of the respondents indicated they were 
aware of the radio stations, only 26 percent of them had listened to it. 
Several groups were more likely to be aware of the radio stations than their 
counterparts: those who stopped at visitor centers, stayed longer in the 
park, and were campers. Stations at the two main entry points to the park 
(Sugarlands and Oconaluftee) received the most use. Of those questioned, 72 
percent were unaware there were different radio messages throughout the park. 
Those who listened to the radio were more likely to realize there were different 
messages than were nonlisteners. The visitors who wanted most to 
hear interpretive messages from the radio accounted for 61 percent of those 
questioned. Only 6 percent of the total surveyed decided to do something 
based on a radio message heard, but this represented 23 percent of those who 



had listened to a radio message. This is another indication that the radio 
can affect behavior once it has gained the attention of the visitor. 

The radio message was changed at one station in mid-summer to see if the 
application of principles of radio advertising would increase retention of 
the message and therefore have a greater influence on behavior. The 
retention of the message was significantly greater, but the test for the 
effect on behavior was inconclusive. It is suggested that the radio system 
needs better marketing, with the messages shortened, simplified, and made 
more interesting. 

The often neglected bulletin board can be a powerful communications tool. 
More visitors are likely to look at bulletin boards than to stop at a 
visitor center or listen to a radio message. Locations are more widely 
distributed throughout the park. Bulletin boards are usable 24 hours a 
day; visitors can potentially communicate with each other via a message board. 
Two-thirds of the visitors were aware that the park had bulletin boards 
at various places. That represented more awareness than for the newspaper 
(39 percent) but less than for the radio (75 percent). Campers, males, and 
people stopping at the visitor centers were more likely to be aware of the 
bulletin boards than their counterparts. First-time visitors were less 
likely to be aware of the bulletin boards. People who were aware of the 
bulletin boards stayed longer in the park. More people looked at the 
bulletin boards (54 percent) than listened to the radio (26 percent) or read 
the newspaper (11 percent). The most popular boards were those at Sugarlands 
and Cades Cove. Campers and first-time visitors are more likely than their 
counterparts to look at the bulletin boards. Bulletin board users stay 
longer than nonusers. 

Of the respondents who looked at park bulletin boards, 22 percent 
indicated that they had used some of the information. This proportion of 
use compares to 11 percent for the newspaper and 6 percent for the users of 
the radio stations. The most frequently mentioned items were the schedule 
of naturalist programs (27 percent), road maps and directions (14 percent), 
and bear information (14 percent). Observation and interviews with users of 
the boards clearly demonstrated that just posting something on the board has 
little relationship to whether or not it has been effectively communicated. 

Design effects were tested by changing the board layout in mid-summer. 
The prechange board did not have any particular arrangement. There were no 
flow patterns. Articles were helter-skelter and some were in disrepair. A 
contrasting style of design and order was then applied. The change resulted 
in people spending less time at the board but finding more new information 
beyond that for which they were looking. The new design did not attract a 
significantly greater number of people to the board. There was also no 
difference in response concerning the need to return to the visitor center 
after using the board. The communicative power of the cartoon to depict 
complex topics was clearly demonstrated. In general, the major features of 
the postchange board were much more likely to be retained than were the items 
posted on the prechange board. It was concluded that the communications 
potential of bulletin boards would be improved via better design techniques. 



li 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

The Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association provided salary moneys 
for Paul Motts and Craig Walker during the months of April through September of 
1983. Without this support, the project which was done in conjunction with 
resources of Uplands Field Research Laboratory would not have been possible. Mr. 
Stanley Canter, Chief of the Division of Interpretation at Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park, provided counsel throughout the project. Mark MacKenzie provided 
invaluable assistance with computer analysis of data. Jan Quarles collected the 
data for that portion of the project completed in 1982. Mike Provost assisted 
in data collection for that portion completed in 1983. 



iii 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY i 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii 

LIST OF TABLES v 

LIST OF FIGURES v 

THE IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS 1 

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS 1 

RESULTS 2 

Overview of Messages 2 

Managers' priorities 2 

Visitor priorities 3 

The Park Newspaper . . 3 

Awareness by visitors 3 

Use by visitors 7 

The Park Radio 10 

Subject content analysis 10 

Awareness by visitors 10 

Use by visitors 10 

Treatment effects 13 

Park Bulletin Board 17 

Awareness by visitors 17 

Use by visitors 17 

Treatment effects 17 

CONCLUSIONS 27 

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND LITERATURE CITED 28 

APPENDIX A. A GUIDE TO IMPROVING COMMUNICATIONS WITH PARK VISITORS .... 30 

THE PARK NEWSPAPER 31 

Role in communications 31 

Principles of application 31 

THE PARK RADIO 34 

Role in communications 34 

Principles of application 34 



IV 



PARK BULLETIN BOARDS .... 

Role in Communications 
Principles of Application 



P age 
36 

36 
36 



LIST OF FIGURES 
Figure 

L Number of radio messages heard by those aware of more than 

one message 

2 Standard and test road signs for Cherokee Orchard radio station . . 16 



12 



3 Bulletin board design prior to change 18 

4 Bulletin board design after change 18 

5 Time spent at bulletin boards and rates of glance/stop 22 

6 Cartoon illustrating health and safety hints 24 

APPENDIX FIGURES 

A-l Official GRSM newspaper amid pile of tourist publications 33 

A-2 Cartoon illustrating appropriate and inappropriate visitor 

behavior toward bears 39 

A-3 The color wheel 41 

LIST OF TABLES 
Table 

1 GRSM employee perception of message effectiveness 4 

2 GRSM employee perception of media effectiveness 5 

3 Types of information most important to the GRSM visitor 6 

4 Relationship between visitors' stopping at a GRSM visitor 

center and their awareness of the GRSM newspaper 

5 Use of park newspaper by GRSM visitors 8 

6 Newspaper articles read by GRSM visitors 9 

7 Use of park radio stations by GRSM visitors 11 

8 Most important radio message desired by GRSM visitors 12 



v 



Table £M£ 

9 Comparison of sample populations for the radio station experiment ... 14 

10 Effects of radio station treatment in GRSM 15 

11 Relationships between visitor characteristics and awareness 

and use of bulletin boards 15 

12 Comparison of sample population characteristics for the 

bulletin board experiment 19 

13 Comparison of bulletin board design effects 20 

14 Information preferences for bulletin boards 21 

15 Use of bulletin board articles before design change 25 

16 Use of bulletin board articles after design change 26 



APPENDIX TABLES 

A-l Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) populations 

sampled for communications study 33 

A-2 Cartoon illustrating appropriate and inappropriate visitor 

behavior towards bears 39 

A-3 The Color Wheel . 41 



VI 



THE IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS 

Why should a national park manager be vitally interested in communications 
with visitors? Because it is the primary means of managing visitor behavior short 
of implementing use restrictions or altering the infrastructure of facilities 
available. Effective communications between manager and visitor enhances every 
phase of park operations, from maintenance and law enforcement to interpretation 
and resources management. Extensive litter is not necessarily inevitable. 
Increased law enforcement patrol is not the only effective response to vandalism. 
Poor attendance at interpretive programs may not be due to lack of interest. The 
public need not automatically resist efforts to control exotic animals. Effective 
communications can be an alternative in addressing each of these park management 
problems . 

It is important for park management to develop an overall communications 
strategy: understand the behavior of target audiences and decide how various media 
can best contribute to the efficient conveyance of a clear set of priority 
messages. This study focused on how to best use the variety of media commonly 
employed to communicate with visitors in the national parks. 

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS 

The study reported here was conducted at Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
(GRSM) in Tennessee and North Carolina. Its overall goal was to determine the 
extent to which visitors receive, retain, and use messages sent by park 
management — in short, to evaluate the effectiveness of selected media. Study 
topics were limited to those media applications generated at the park level. 
Specific objectives were as follows: 

1. Determine the message content most important to park managers, public contact 
employees, and visitors. 

2. Determine readability, subject content, visitor awareness, and use of the park 
newspaper. 

3. Determine subject content, visitor awareness, message retention, and visitor 
use of the park radio messages. 

4. Determine subject content, visitor awareness, message retention, and use of the 
bulletin board at visitor centers. 

The study spanned two years. In 1982, park managers and personnel directly in 
contact with the public were interviewed concerning their opinions on the priority 
of messages to be conveyed to visitors and how effectively they felt they are 
conveyed. In 1983, park visitors were either interviewed or unobtrusively observed 
as to their information preferences and their awareness and use of selected park 
media. As depicted in Table A-l in the appendix, a total of eight survey 
instruments was used. Table A-2 in the appendix gives the number of sampling 
periods by date. 

Data concerning park visitors were gathered in the summer months of 1983. Media 
selected for study were the park newspaper, short range AM radio stations, and the 
bulletin board outside Sugarlands Visitor Center. A General Media questionnaire 
covering all media was administered at the three major exit points of the park — 
Sugarlands, Oconaluftee, and Townsend. The short range radio station message on 
the Cherokee Orchard Road in the park was surveyed onsite, as was the bulletin board 
at Sugarlands Visitor Center. Users of the bulletin board were both interviewed 



and/or unobtrusively observed. The radio message and bulletin board designs 
were changed in mid-summer to test the effect of applying media-specific 
principles to them. 

For the General Media questionnaire, roadside interviews were conducted 
with visitors exiting the park. Visitors were flagged down and interviewed in 
their automobiles. Interviews took approximately 5 to 7 minutes. As soon as 
one interview was completed, the next available car was flagged down and the 
process repeated. Sampling was conducted in proportion to the frequency of 
use of the three major exit points of GRSM. Proportioning was done according 
to data reported in the 1975 ARMS survey (Amusement Recreation Marketing 
Services 1975). Sampling periods were randomly assigned to days throughout 
the summer. 

Visitors in the vicinity of Cherokee Orchard short-range radio station 
were queried using the same methodology as was used for the General Media 
questionnaire. These interviews generally took about 5 minutes or less to 
complete . 

Personal interviews and unobtrusive observation were both used to sample 
users of the bulletin board outside Sugarlands Visitor Center. For 
unobtrusive observation, an observer was stationed approximately 30 feet from 
the bulletin board. This distance provided the opportunity to be able to see 
the board well and yet remain unobtrusive. The first visitor to approach the 
board at the start of the 3-hour observation period was observed until he/she 
left the board. The next person to approach the board became the next subject 
for observation, beginning the process again. Visitors leaving the bulletin 
board on their way to the parking lot were approached by a researcher for the 
personal interviews. The interviewer was stationed on the sidewalk leading to 
the parking lot. Interviewing and observing took place simultaneously; 
however, and interviewee may or may not have been observed and vice versa. 

After the interview was completed, the next available subject was 
approached to start the process again. Interviews took approximately 
5 minutes to complete. Randomly assigned time periods of 3 hours in duration 
were employed for both the interview and observations. Unlike the General 
Media questionnaire, no proportioning was done, since sampling was not 
affected by location. The nonresponse rate was negligible for all instruments 
in the study. 

A companion study of visitors to the backcountry of GRSM was also 
conducted during the summer of 1983. Use patterns were recorded, along with 
attitudes, concerning management policy, equipment carried, and awareness of 
health hazards. This study, reported in a separate document, provides 
valuable insight into the effectiveness of communication with backcountry 
users . 

RESULTS 

Overview of Messages 

Managers' Priorities . Managers' perception of communication effectiveness 
is important to assess. Where do employees see strengths and weaknesses? Do 
perceptions vary much by job function? Table 1 displays the results of a 1982 
employee survey measuring perceived effectiveness for specific subject areas. 
The range of responses varied markedly. On the average, respondents considered 
that only 4 of the 18 subjects listed were effectively communicated to park 
visitors, with the responses ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. 



Unfortunately, air pollution, the most serious threat to the park, is perceived 
to be the most poorly conveyed management issue. Opinion concerning the 
effectiveness of communicating the hog management issue was mixed. 

The data were also compiled for top managers versus employees dealing daily 
with visitors. These results are displayed in the two right-hand columns of 
Table 1. This dichotomy showed less favorable perception of effectiveness by 
public contact employees concerning threats to the park. 

Park employees were also asked their opinions concerning the effectiveness of 
various media applied in the park. Results are displayed in Table 2. Most of the 
media applications were considered to be effectively applied. Press releases, 
meetings, and public involvement were the least supported. 

Employees also indicated which message they felt was most important to convey 
to the public. The majority of the responses related to either resource 
protection or health and safety issues. Typical responses are as follows: "a 
healthy respect for wildlife, nature, and historical structures" and "this park 
is yours too; take care of it accordingly," and "convey a better understanding of 
nature in its broadest forms." No one mentioned that the primary message should 
be how to enjoy the park. 

Visitor Priorities . Visitors exiting the park in 1983 were asked to indicate 
the kind of information most important to them during their visit. It was assumed 
that this perspective would also reflect their receptivity to the messages 
conveyed. Responses are displayed in Table 3. People want to know what to do 
in the park. General orientation and information on the pursuit of specific 
activities account for 61 percent of the responses. These results are consistent 
with the findings of a study done in Rocky Mountain National Park (Ormrod 1984). 
The most popular response was: "How to see the park in a limited amount of time." 
The category "park history" was mentioned more often than "schedule of nature 
programs" or "natural history interpretation." Cultural history is perhaps more 
important to visitors than natural history. 

Less than one percent of park visitors expressed interest in management issues 
as a priority point of information. This was on a par with knowing where the 
public telephones were located. By contrast, park employees placed management 
issues very high on their list of priority messages. 

Visitors and managers have different perceptions of what messages are 
important. Employees interacting daily with the public have different perspectives 
on how well park messages are being received than does top management. The most 
critical need is to relate park orientation information succinctly to first-time 
visitors with limited time to visit the park. 

The Park Newspaper 

Awareness by Visitors . Possibly the most important finding of the study was 
that only 39 percent of the park visitors were aware that the park newspaper exists 
This situation greatly curtails the potential of the paper to influence visitor 
behavior. A well designed newspaper must also be well marketed. GRSM is at a 
distinct advantage since there is no fee collection at the points of entry, thus 
no chance to physically thrust a copy into the visitors hands. The park's visitor 
centers are the primary distribution points for the newspaper. 

As depicted in Table 4, persons stopping at the visitor center are 
significantly more likely to be aware of the newspaper. These data clearly point 
out the limitations of present marketing strategy. On the other hand, 40 percent 
of the visitor center patrons were unaware that the newspaper was available. It 

seemed that just displaying them at the desk may have been too subtle a marketing 
strategy. 



Table 1 



GRSM employee perception of message effectiveness. 



'Great Smoky Mountains National Park does an effective job of telling 
visitors about..." 



Subject Category 

Bears 

Backcountry Use 

Interpretive Program 

Cultural History 

Drinking Water 

Natural Features 

Traffic Safety 

Weather 

Brook Trout 

European Wild Boar 

Waterfalls 

Fire 

Snakes 

Streams 

Endangered Species 

Balsam Wooly Aphid 

Acid Rain 

Air Quality 







% Respondents 






by communcations 


Effectiveness 




effectiveness 


Category Mean 


Standard 
Deviation 

.85 


categor 

SA, A 

91 


Les£' 


1/ 


DK,D,SD 


4.3 


9 


4.2 


.78 


91 


9 


4.1 


.97 


91 


9 


4.0 


.91 


88 


12 


3.9 


.93 


87 


13 


3.9 


.92 


84 


16 


3.6 


1.03 


61 


39 


3.5 


1.1 


69 


31 


3.2 


1.05 


58 


42 


3.2 


1.07 


55 


45 


3.2 


1.16 


57 


43 


3.1 


1.07 


52 


48 


2.9 


1.05 


46 


54 


2.8 


1.05 


40 


60 


2.8 


1.07 


37 


63 


2.7 


1.04 


27 


73 


2.4 


.99 


18 


82 


2.3 


.94 


15 


85 



"L That agree 
by j o b!/ 

~~ PubTi 
Top Mgmt Con 



80 


93 


90 


91 


90 


91 


90 


88 


70 


90 


90 


83 


60 


61 


50 


72 


50 


60 


60 


54 


60 


57 


50 


52 


40 


47 


40 


40 


40 


37 


40 


25 


30 


16 


20 


14 



— Mean responses which were coded as follows: 

2/ 

— 1 = strongly disagree (SD) 

2 = disagree (D) 

3 = don't know (DK) 

4 = agree (A) 

5 = strongly agree (SA) 

3/ . 

- Agree = Strongly agree + agree categories 



Source: 1982 messages to convey by management questionnaire 



Table 2. GRSM employee perception of media effectiveness. 

The park communicates effectively through the following means 



Media Applications 

Evening programs 

Visitor center 

Newspaper 

Brochures 

Wayside exhibits 

Park map 

Interpreters 

Rangers 

Park radio stations 

Off-site talks 
Press releases 
Meetings with groups 
Public involvement 









7„ Re: 


spondents 








Ff f pc t" i vptipc c 




by e: 
ness 


I f ect ive- 

2/ 
category —' 


% 


That 
by 


agree 

job!' 


category 
response 


1/ 
mean — 


Std. 
deviation 

.66 


SA,A 
91 


DK,D,SD 
9 


Top 
Manag 

80 


emt . 


Public 
Contact 


4.1 




93 


4.0 




.84 


88 


12 


70 




91 


3.9 




.92 


86 


14 


60 




91 


3.8 




.99 


78 


22 


70 




80 


3.7 




.91 


72 


28 


60 




74 


3.7 




1.03 


83 


17 


78 




83 


3.6 




.80 


73 


27 


75 




73 


3.5 




.92 


73 


27 


62 




75 


3.4 




1.05 


62 


38 


50 




65 


3.4 




.81 


51 


49 


50 




51 


3.2 




1.03 


43 


57 


62 




40 


3.1 




.80 


36 


64 


75 




30 


2.8 




.94 


28 


72 


62 




40 



-•Mean of responses which were coded as follows: 

2/ 

— 1 - strongly disagree (SD) 

2 = disagree (D) 

3 = don't know (DK) 

4 = agree (A) 

5 = strongly agree (SA) 

— Agree = Strongly agree + agree categories 



Source: 1982 messages to convey by management questionnaire 



Backcountry information 
Sub-total 

2. Activities 

Camping 

Hiking 

Fishing 

Picnic 

Whitewater canoe 

Horseback riding 

Bicycling 

Sub-total 

3. Interpretation 

Park History 

Natural history interpretation 
Daily events 

Schedule of nature programs 
Management issues 
Sub-total 

4. Personal Safety 

Emergency Services 

Health and Safety 

Weather 

Sub-total 

5. Specific park facilities 

Lodging 

Restrooms 

Phones 

Sub-total 



29.25 





■ *"T 


6 


.6 


3, 


.3 


1, 


.6 


1, 


.6 


1, 


.4 


1, 


,8 



25.7 



16.8 



16.1 



7.8 



Table 3. Types of information most important to the GRSM visitor. 



Information categories 

1. Things to do/general orientation 
How to see park in limited time 
Places to see 
Auto touring 





Deg 


ree of Importance 




Most 




Znd Most 




3rd Most 


Important 




Important 




Important 


n=667 


% 


n=658 


1/ 


n=652 




of Respondents 




14.2 




9.1 




9.1 


9.3 




7.8 




6.9 


4.4 




6.1 




6.1 


1.4 




4.4 




4.8 



-Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding. 
Source: 1983 General media survey 

6 



27.4 



8 


.7 


7, 


.0 


4, 


.0 


2, 


.3 


2 


.0 


1, 


.5 




.8 



26.3 



6.0 


4.6 


4.8 


4.7 


3.2 


5.3 


2.4 


3.6 


0.4 






18.2 



7.2 


5.5 


6.9 


4.0 


2.0 


3.3 



12.8 



6.6 


5.6 


1.2 


3.3 





.5 



9.4 



26.9 



5. 


.2 


5, 


.1 


4, 


.4 


2, 


,4 


2, 


.4 


2. 


.0 


1, 


,1 



23.4 



9. 


.1 


2, 


,9 


5, 


,4 


3. 


,1 


0. 


,3 



20.8 

3.8 

3.2 

3.7 
10.7 

5.4 

5.4 

.8 
11.6 



Campers were much more aware of the newspaper than noncampers. Similarly, 
people spending more time in the park were much more likely to be aware of the 
park newspaper. No significant relationship occurred between awareness of the 
newspaper and age, sex, or number of visits to the park. It is surprising that 
a greater number of visits does not result in greater awareness of the newspaper, 

Table 4. Relationship between visitors' stopping at a GRSM visitor center and 
their awareness of the GRSM newspaper. 



Question: 



Did you stop at a visitor center? 
(number of respondents) 



Are you aware of 
the park ' s 
newspaper? 



YES 



NO 



YES 
194 



129 



NO 
70 



N = 681 Chi-square = 117.380 DF = 1 Prob =0.001 
Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



Use by Visitors . A series of questions was directed to visitors via the General Media 
questionnaire to ascertain their use of the park newspaper. Results are displayed 
in Tables 5 and 6. The second column in Table 5 reveals that 11 percent of the 
respondents had used the park newspaper. Only 3 percent of the respondents 
attended an interpretive program based on the schedule in the paper. The lead 
articles, which occupied 100 percent of the most valuable attention-getting 
space in the paper, affected behavior in only 2 percent of those who responded 
to the questionnaire. 

On the other hand, the fourth column in Table 5 suggests that once you have 
the public's attention, the paper can affect behavior. For instance, 48 percent 
of the visitors who knew the paper contained an interpretive program schedule had 
decided to attend a program based on what they had read. Similarly, 42 percent 
of the people who read the front page article did something during their visit 
based on what they had read. Management issues might be appropriate for the 
paper, since 75 percent of the people who were aware of the paper indicated they 
would probably use it after leaving the park. 

Campers were more likely than noncampers to use the newspaper, be aware that 
an interpretive schedule is included in it, and attend programs based on what they 
read. Likewise, people spending more time in the park are much more likely to 
use the paper and to attend interpretive programs after reading about them in the 
paper. No significant relationships occurred between newspaper use and age, sex, 
or number of visits to the park. 

Visitors sampled via the General Media questionnaire were asked if they had 
used the newspaper. The users were then asked which articles they had read. 
Results of this question are displayed in Table 6. The distribution of articles 
read was quite uniform for the small sample taken at the -beginning of the season, 



Table 3. Use of park newspaper by GRSM visitors 



Question 



Number of 

Positive 

Responses 



% Positive 
response from 
total survey 
n = 682 



7o Positive response 
Previous in relation to a 
question previous question.!' 



A. Are you aware of 
Park newspaper? 

B. Did you pick one 
up? 

C Have you used it 
yet? 

D. Will you use it 
after you leave 
the Park? 



265 



165 



77 



124 



39 



24 



11 



19 



N/A 



N/A 



62 



47 



75 



E. Did you know the 50 
paper lists Nature 
programs? 

F. Did you attend a 24 
nature program 

based on newpaper? 

G. Did you read the 38 
feature article? 

H. Did you do something 16 
based on the article? 



65 



48 



49 



42 



— For example, of the 265 respondents aware of the park newspaper (question A), 
165, or 62%, had picked one up (question B). 



Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



Table 6. Newspaper articles read by GRSM visitors 



1983 Spring Edition: 
Article 

Thru a camera lens 

Spring delight 

Self-guided nature 
trails 

Four-footed friends 

Radio Smokies 1610 

Schedule of Interp. 
events 

Campground store 

Horseback riding 

Planting by the signs 

Publishing information 

Reservation camping 

Study in the Smokies 

Accommodations 

On foot 

On a bike 

Emergency message 

By car 

Water activities 

Worship service 

Sightseeing 

Med. -Service and 
First Aid 

Schedule of events 

Facilities blossom 

Spring Wildflower 
Pilgrimage 

Don't pick blossoms 



% of Users 

n = 19 Page # 



32 
26 

26 



26 


2 


21 


1 


21 


3 


21 


4 


21 


4 


16 


2 


16 


2 


16 


3 


16 


3 


16 


4 


16 


4 


16 


4 


16 


4 


16 


4 


16 


4 


16 


4 


16 


4 


16 


4 


11 


2 


11 


2 


11 


3 


11 


3 



1983 Summer Edition: 
Article 

Schedule of 

Interp. events 



Just listen 
Barns 
On foot 
By car 

Horseback riding 
Medical services 
Campground store 
Notice to visitors 
On a bike 
Worship service 
Accomodations 
Sight seeing /Tour 
Water activities 
Emergency message 
Lost and found 
Publishing info. 



% of Users 

n = 58 Page ft 



72 

50 
38 
21 
19 
17 
16 
14 
14 
14 
12 
12 
12 
10 
10 
10 
10 



2-3 

1 
1 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 
4 



Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



while the spring edition was still in use. Data for the summer edition show the 
highest use made of the schedule of interpretive events. The front page articles 
were the next most popular, probably due to their prominent position. Health and 
safety articles got very little attention. 

In comparing the summer newspaper content displayed in Table 6 with 
information preferences expressed by managers and visitors as reported in the 
previous section, several major omissions are evident. The newspaper did not 
address the highest priority messages desired by management or visitors. Managers 
keyed on the values of a wilderness park and how to minimize adverse impacts 
during the visitor experience. Visitors wanted to know how to enjoy the park in 
a limited amount of time or how to pursue specific activities. Camping and 
fishing, the first and third most frequently mentioned activity information needs, 
for instance, were not at all mentioned in the summer paper of 1983. These 
subjects are addressed in separate brochures. The issue then become whether or 
not to use space in the paper to alert visitors as to the availability of these 
brochures. Again, what are the priority messages of managers? 

The Park Radio 

Subject Content Analysis . There are 14 active radio stations in the park, 
each broadcasting a unique message. Subject categories of these messages are 
displayed in Table A-3 in the appendix. The Cades Cove message, for instance, 
focused primarily on interpretation, with 70 percent of the sentences of the 
message devoted to it. By contrast, the station at the Gatlinburg entrance to the 
park (Sugarlands) is more diverse. As displayed in Table A-3, the most prevalent 
commonality among radio messages is their diversity in subject content. Most are 
a potpourri of short statement on unrelated topics. The messages are quite long 
and range from 232 to 501 words, an average of 401 words or twice what is 
recommended for radio advertising. This pattern is understandable, considering 
the messages are broadcast primarily (8 out of 14) in the vicinity of campgrounds. 
The detailed campground information is provided while people slowly approach the 
campground and are more likely to be looking for specific information. In these 
locations, the bulletin boards may be quite sufficient for conveying the 
information now broadcast on the radio. This would free the transmitters for 
alternative use at sites of greater visitor traffic and interpretive potential. 
Interpretation was the primary use of the radio message at Cades Cove, Cherokee 
Orchard, Newfound Gap, and Clingmans Dome. 

Awareness by Visitors . Visitors are aware of the radio stations. Over 75 
percent so indicated in the General Media questionnaire. Several groups were 
more likely to be aware of the radio stations than their counterparts: those that 
stopped at visitor centers, stayed longer in the park, and were campers. No 
significant correlation occurred between first-time visitation and awareness. On 
the other hand, and this may be the second most important finding of the study, 
only 27 percent of the visitors who knew about the radio stations were aware that 
there were different radio messages around the park. Stated another way, 73 
percent of those aware of the radio stations did not realize that there was more 
than one message in the park. 

Use by Visitors . A series of questions were asked to ascertain visitor use 
of the radio messages. Results are shown in Tables 7 and 8. Only 26 percent 
of the visitors had listened to the park radio during their visit. This compares 
to over 78 percent of the visitors at Yellowstone National Park (Starobin 1973). 
Why the dramatic difference? It is probably a combination of factors. For one 

10 



Table 7. Use of park radio stations by GRSM visitors, 



Question 



7, Positive 
response 
n = 682 



% of all those listening 
to radio during visit 
n = 178 



1. Did you listen to the park 
radio during your visit? 



26 



N/A 



2. Where in the park was that? 

Cades Cove 3 

Cataloochee 

Cherokee Orchard 1 

Clingmans Dome 1 

Cosby 

Deep Creek 

Elkmont 2 

Greenbrier 

Look Rock 

Newfound Gap 2 

Oconaluftee 6 

Smokemont 3 

Sugarlands 15 

Townsend 



13 



3 

3 





7 





7 

23 

12 

59 

2 



3. Have you listened to the park 15 
radio during previous visits? 

4. Did you decide to do something 6 
based on the radio messages? — ' 



N/A 



23 



1/ 



"During this or previous visit 



Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



11 



Table 8. Most important radio message desired by GRSM visitors. 

Question: 

What is the one main thing you would like to know from the radio message? 



Message 

Natural history interpretation 

Park history interpretation 

Places to see 

Health and safety 

Weather 

Camping information 

Hiking information 

Lodging information 

Schedule of daily events 



% of Population 

39 
22 

9 

7 

7 

6 

4 

3 

3 



Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



7. of those 
aware of 
more than 
one message 




2 3 4 5 

Number of radio messages heard 
Figure 1. Number of radio messages heard by those aware of more than one message. 



Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



12 



thing, GRSM has a much higher percentage of repeat visitors, who are far less 
likely to use the radio. First-time visitors were more likely than repeat 
visitors to use the radio system (48 to 34 percent). Just as important is the 
fact that 72 percent of the visitors who were aware of the radio system were 
unaware that there are different radio messages around the park. Also, the radio 
system in Yellowstone is a more integral part of the interpretive strategy than 
at GRSM (Chief of Visitor Services Canter, personal communication, 1983). 
Visitors at Yellowstone are likely to be more attuned to turning the radio on. 

Not surprisingly, stations at the two main entrances, Oconaluftee and 
Sugarlands, received the greatest use (Table 7 ). Sugarlands is the most 
strategic station in the entire park for intercepting first-time visitors, since 
57 percent of all visitors stop there (ARMS 1975). Figure 1 shows the number of 
radio messages heard by visitors aware that there were more than one. Seventy 
percent had heard only one or two. Very few listened to many messages. Radio 
listeners are more likely to realize there are different radio messages than are 
nonlisteners. As shown in Table 8 » 61 percent of the visitors wanted most to 
hear interpretive messages from the radio. This supports the contention that the 
radio system should be used more for interpretive activities. Only 6 percent of 
the park visitors decided to do something based on the radio messages heard. On 
the other hand, one in four of those who had listened to a radio station had 
decided to do something based on what they heard. No significant correlations 
were detected between use of the radio and age, sex, campers versus noncampers, 
and length of stay. 

Treatment Effects . To test the effects of applying the principles of radio 
advertising (see appendix) to park radio messages, a test was devised for the 
Cherokee Orchard station. The transmitter for this station is housed at the 
Uplands Field Research Laboratory. Before a new message and road sign were 
installed, 227 interviews were conducted; after installation, 211 interviews were 
conducted. The standard and test road signs are displayed in Figure 2. To 
examine population characteristics, 12 questions from the exit interview were 
asked (Table 9 )• Except for having a higher percentage of visitors on the 
Cherokee Orchard Road aware of the radio stations in the park, most 
characteristics measured, such as age, sex, days in the park, number of visits, 
stops at visitor centers, and camping were somewhat similar. The most striking 
difference was the higher interest expressed by Cherokee Orchard respondents for 
radio messages pertaining to places to see. 

The effectiveness of the sign and message were measured by three questions, 
responses to which are displayed in Table 10. Results were somewhat mixed. 
There was no significant difference between pre- and post-treatment concerning 
whether or not people turned on their radio or chose to do something based on 
what they had heard. Four confounding factors may have influenced results. One 
was that the treatment road sign was poorly designed so that it was not easily 
readable by motorists driving the speed limit. Any improvement that the sign 
message may have had was probably outweighed by its design. Also, circumstances 
required that people be pulled off the road immediately after they had heard the 
message rather than giving them time to mull over the information as to whether 
to take action. Third, although there was a statistically significant larger 
number of first-time visitors in the post- versus the pre-treatment category 
(33 percent versus 21 percent, respectively), the vast majority of visitors in 
both categories were repeat visitors. They therefore probably had an itinerary 
already in mind. Lastly, a statistically significant fewer post- versus pre- 
treatment respondents were aware that a park radio system existed. As a result, 

13 



Table 9. Comparison of sample population characteristics for the radio 
station experiment. 

General Media Radio Message 

Survey Pre-treatment Post-treatment 
Population characteristics n = 682 n = 227 n = 211 

Average number of days in park 

7o that camped in park 

7» on first visit 

Average number times visiting 
park in last year 

Average number times visiting 28.8 33 23 

park in last 5 years 

% aware of park's radio station 75 90 83 

7, aware of different messages 28 37 42 

Average number of messages .96 .27 .30 

heard 



2.82 


3.62 


3.23 


15 


11 


9 


27 


21 


33 


6.6 


8 


5 



7. males 54 56 

Average age 40 38 

7 that stopped at visitor center 47 52 



54 
39 
44.5 



Main radio message you prefer 

7o Natural history interpretation 39 11 12 

7, Park history 22 9 7 

7 Places to see 9 45 52 

7 Health and safety 743 

7o Weather 7 1 1 

7, Camping information 6 7 3 

7o Hiking information 4 10 9 

7> Lodging information 3 

7. Schedule of events 3 11 n 



Sources: 1983 General Media 



14 



Table 10. Effects of radio station treatment in GRSM, 



Pre-treatment 



Post-treatment 



Question 

Did you listen to the park radio 
as you were driving up this 
road today? 

Did you decide to do something 
based on the radio message? 



% Responding yes to question 
30 34 



32 



28 



3. What kinds of things do you 
remember from the radio 
message you heard as you 
were driving up the road? 



Pre-treatment 
Item Remembered 



% respondents 

Trailhead & Hiking info 53 

Homesteads/cabins/buildings 45 

Pioneer lifestyle & hardships 42 

Pioneer relationship to land 19 

Motor Nature Trail 16 

Road characteristics 11 



Post- treatment 

Item Remembered 

- % respondents _' 

Grotto Falls 82 

Bud Ogle Farm 77 

Motor Nature Trail 48 

Senses 20 

Other 18 



Average number of items = 
recalled per respondent 



1.87 



Average number of items 
recalled per respondent 



2.45 



— Total does not equal 1007o due to possibility of multiple responses per respondent 
Source: 1983 Radio Message (before and after treatment) questionnaire 



Table 11.. Relationships between visitor characteristics and awareness and use 
of bulletin boards. 



Relat ionship 

Awareness versus camping 

Awareness versus sex 

Awareness versus stopping at visitor centers 

Awareness versus first-time visitor 

Awareness versus length of stay (t-test) 



Chi Square Probabi lity 



DF 



7.5 


0.006 


1 


24.7 


0.001 


1 


12.2 


o.ooi 


1 


8.1 


0.004 


1 





.02 


577 



Use versus camping 

Use versus first-time visitors 

Use versus length of stay 

Use versus stopped at visitor centers 



21.7 
34.9 
18.7 
45.2 



0.001 


1 


0.001 


1 


0.001 


3 


0.001 


1 



Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



15 




A. Standard 



B. Test 



Figure 2. Standard and test road signs for Cherokee Orchard radio station. 



16 



the test of the alternative signage was inconclusive. 

Respondents did show greater retention of the post-treatment message. More 
items per respondent were recalled, even though the message was quite a bit 
shorter (272 words versus 387 words). Also, key points of interests emphasized 
in the message were retained by more than three-fourths of the respondents. 
Information retention increased from an average of 1.87 things remembered from the 
pre-treatment message to an average of 2.45 things remembered from the post- 
treatment message. Retention of reference to the Motor Nature Trail increased 
threefold. One out of five post-treatment respondents recalled reference to using 
their senses. 

Park Bulletin Boards 

Awareness by Visitors. Two-thirds of the visitors interviewed in the General 
Media questionnaire were aware that the park has bulletin boards at various places. 
That represents more awareness than for the newspaper (39 percent) but less than 
for the radio stations (75 percent). Statistically significant relationships 
concerning bulletin board awareness are shown in Table 11. Several groups 
interviewed in the General Media questionnaire were more likely to be aware of 
bulletin boards than their counterparts: campers, males, and visitors stopping at 
the visitor centers. People aware of the bulletin boards stayed in the park 
longer. 

Use by Visitors. More respondents in the General Media questionnaire looked 
at bulletin boards (54 percent) than listed to the radio (38 percent) or read 
the newspaper (11 percent). Locations of bulletin boards used are shown in 
Table A-4 in the appendix. The most popular locations were at Sugarlands Visitor 
Center and Cades Cove. Statistically significant relationships concerning 
bulletin board awareness and use are displayed in Table 11. Campers and first- 
time visitors were more likely than their counterparts to look at the bulletin 
boards. Bulletin board users stayed longer in the park than nonusers. 

Of the respondents in the General Media questionnaire that looked at park 
bulletin boards, 22 percent indicated that they had used some of the information. 
The most frequently mentioned items were the schedule of naturalist programs 
(27 percent), road maps and directions (14 percent), and bear information (14 
percent). This degree of information use compares to 11 percent for the 
newspaper and 6 percent for the users of the radio stations. Users of the 
bulletin board at Sugarlands were observed as part of a design treatment 
experiment described in the next section. Further insight into visitor use 
bulletin boards is offered there. 

Treatment Effects . In order to test the effects of design change, the 
bulletin board at Sugarlands Visitor Center was changed at mid-summer. The two 
design strategies are pictured in Figures 3 and 4. The pre-change board did not 
have any particular arrangement. There was no flow pattern. Articles of all shapes 
and sizes were posted over the entire surface, including the corners and accross 
the bottom. Headlines were helter-skelter; some were in disrepair. Several 
articles were badly bleached out by the sun. Maps were scattered, with a variety 
of scales and levels of sophistication. As shown in Figure 3, there was a 
tremendous quantity of information displayed. 

This circumstance provided a good opportunity to take an extremely opposite 
approach to design. Upon consulting with the interpretive staff, it was 
determined that the large number of information items must be retained. There 
was no particular sense of priority. An informal balance design described by 



17 




Figure 3 . Bulletin board design prior to change. 




Figure 4. Bulletin board design after change 



18 



Randall and Haines (1961) was chosen. Emphasis was placed on area maps and 
things to do, the primary user preferences as displayed in Table 14. These were 
situated at eye level. A portion was also devoted to providing guidance in how 
to select literature in the visitor center which matched particular interests and 
circumstances. Another primary feature was the use of a cartoon to explain the 
"why" for the most publicized "don't" among park messages. See Figure A-l. 

A combination of personal interviews and unobtrusive observation was used to 
evaluate effects of the bulletin board design change. As in the radio treatment 
questionnaire, respondents at the bulletin board were asked several questions 
that were also on the exit survey questionnaire. Results of the sample 
population comparisons are shown in Table 12. The primary difference between 
the bulletin board respondents and the total population of visitors is that they 
are more likely to be first-time visitors. This is as expected, since first-time 
visitors are more likely to stop at the visitor center. 

Statistically significant differences in the pre- and post-survey populations 
include more males and first-time visitors in the pre-treatment population and a 
younger than average age in the post-treatment population. A couple of things 
were added to the bulletin board that were designed to attract children. This 
might have contributed to the age differences. 

A comparison of responses to questions used to evaluate the effectiveness of 
the design are portrayed in Table 13. The only statistically significant 
population differences were with the percent of respondents finding new 
information for which they were not looking. The new design apparently fostered 
greater opportunity to learn new information. 



Table 12- Comparisons of sample population characteristics for the bulletin 

board experiment. 

Bulletin board questionnaire 

Sugarlands Visitor Center 

Pre-test Post-test 
n=211 r=220 



Population characteristics 



General Media 

questionnaire 

n=682 



Average number days in park 2.8 

% that camped in park 15 

% on first visit 27 

Average number times visiting 6.6 
park in last year 



2.8 
18 
45 
.8 



2.4 

18 

36* 

1 



Average number times visiting 
park in last 5 years 



29 



5.4 



6.3 



% Males 
Average age 



54 
40 



62 
39 



48* 
35* 



-'Significantly different at p < 0.05 

Sources: 1983 General Media questionnaire; 1983 Sugarlands bulletin board (before 
and after treatment questionnaires) 



19 



Table 13. Comparison of bulletin board design effects. 



% respondents 




52 


45 


75 


69 


48 


58 



Sugarlands Bulletin Board Survey 

Question Pre-treatment Post-treatment 

N-211 N-220 

Were you seeking specific information? —' 
Did you find information sought? - 

Did you find new information? — 

2/ 
When will you use the information? - 

Now 50 51 

Later 33 34 

Now and later 8 3 

Never 5 4 

Don't know 11 11 

2/ 
Why attracted to Bulletin Board - 

Design layout 7 9 

Desire for NPS information 34 37 

Location 15 9 

Curiosity 43 44 

7 
Did you need to go to NPS desk - 

for more information? 39 38 



— % of respondents answering yes to the question. 

2/ 

- Total does not equal 100% due to rounding. 

Source: 1983 Sugarlands bulletin board before and after treatment) questionnaire 



20 



Table 14. Information preferences for bulletin boards. 

Information type Pre-treatment Post-treatment 

—— N=199 N=220 

% Respondents— 

Map 26 32 

Hiking 4 10 

Camping 5 5 

Schedule of events 4 4 

Fishing 1 I 

Weather 1 2 

Lodging 1 1 

Health and safety 2 1 

Wildlife 6 5 

Auto touring 1 

Places to see 7 9 

No opinion 29 16 

Other 14 15 



— Total does not equal 100% due to rounding. 

Source: Sugarlands bulletin board (before and after treatment) questionnaires 



On the other hand, the new design did not attract a significantly greater 
number of people due to design layout. There was also no difference in response 
concerning the need to return to the visitor center after looking at the 
bulletin board. This was unexpected since the new design featured guidance in 
using literature available at the center. 

Users of the visitor center bulletin board were also asked to indicate the 
item they would most like to see on it. Results are displayed in Table 14 . 
The number one preference is for maps and directions; second is for information 
on things to do. This is consistent with response to the general question in 
the exit interview concerning information most desired. (See Table 3 .) 

Users of the bulletin board also were observed unobtrusively in order to 
record their habits concerning use of the board. The amounts of time spent 
at the board are displayed in Figure 5 . People spent more time at the pre- 
change board and were more likely to stop as opposed to glance at it. These 
relationships are statistically significant. A statistically significant 
larger number of males than females used the pre-change board. The reverse 
was true for the post-change board. This relationship was also statistically 
significant. 

Why was more time spent prior to change? The pre-change board was a 
complex hodgepodge of material with several brochures displaying 
considerable text. This design invited exploration for interesting 

21 



Rates of glance/stop 
60 



50 - 



Pre-t reatment 
1/4.8 



7„ of Population 
Observed 



Post-t reatment 
1/3.9 




Less 



1/2 1/2-1 



than 
V7\ pr» treotment 



1-3 
(minutes) 



3-7 



post treatment 



7-12 



Figure 5. Time spent at bulletin boards and rates of glance/stop. 



Source: 1983 Bulletin Board Unobtrusive Observation (before and after treatment) 
surveys 



22 



information. Much more time was required to comprehend it as opposed to the 
post-change board whose deliberately opposite design style was meant to help the 
reader quickly locate items of interest. These design differences presumably 
contributed to the time spent differential. 

Significant insight is gained from the unobtrusively gathered data portrayed 
in Tables 15 and 16. The percentage of users reading and scanning each article 
is presented. As one would expect, the park map was the most popular item in 
both the pre- and post-change boards. The pre-change board had a prominent 
article on the potential for car break-ins and how to protect against them. This 
was the next most often read article by visitors. The visitors' vested interest 
in this topic was displayed by the behavior recorded. The cartoons incorporated 
in the post-treatment board proved popular. The cartoons (Figures 6 and A-l) 
depict proper and improper behavior during bear encounters, and hints on health 
and safety. Both sets of cartoons also depicted the potential adverse effects if 
the recommended behavior was not followed. The "why" behind the "don't" was 
explained. The cartoons were used as vehicles to portray complex issues, and 
they drew attention. 

By contrast, it is interesting to make note of what wasn't read. Just 
because items are posted on a bulletin board doesn't necessarily mean that any 
communication will take place. For example, an item was included on the 
pretreatment board concerning the "quiet walkways" in the park. These short loop 
trails were provided just a few years ago to entice people out of their cars at 
less popular points in the park. Less than 1 percent of the board users took 
time to read the quiet walkways article. No reference was made to these 
facilities in the newspaper. As a result, the only publicity that this new and 
innovative program gets is the "Quiet Walkway" signs along the park roads. 
Articles on hypothermia and giardia (a human disease carried by water) had 
similar lack of attention, along with all other health and safety messages 
(excluding the notice on bears). 

To gauge the recollection of messages read and scanned, bulletin board users 
were asked which articles they remembered from the board. Results are portrayed 
in the right-hand column in Tables 15 and 16 • These data reveal the value of 
attention-getting techniques. On the pre-treatment board, 8.5 percent of the 
respondents recalled seeing the cigarette butts on the board. The article 
concerning vehicle break-ins with the large heading entitled "Beware" was 
remembered more frequently, as was the flyer on bears in the park. On the 
post-treatment board, the recall of the cartoons was number one. Over one half 
of the people looking at the board recalled seeing them. This again illustrates 
the value of this technique for communicating. Almost half of the post- 
treatment respondents also recalled seeing items concerning park features and 
activities. These items occupied the prime eye-level viewing space on the 
boards. In general, the major features of the post-treatment board were much 
more likely to be recalled than for those items posted on the pre-treatment 
board. 

It may be concluded that the design change did affect behavior. People 
spent less time, found more new things they were looking for, and had a 
generally higher recall level. 



23 




Figure 6. Cartoon illustrating health and safety hints 



24 



Table 15. Use of bulletin board articles before design change 



Tour map 

Beware of theft 

Bears 

Campground map 

Backcountry 

Interp. Sched. 

Picnic areas 

Plant and animal 
regulations 

Self-guiding trails 7.7 

Fishing 6.6 
Self-guiding trail art. 5.1 

15<£ maps 4.2 

Camping 3 . 8 

Hypothermia 3 . 1 

Gatlinburg Bypass 2.6 

Shower 2.4 

Gatlinburg Med. Cntr. 2.3 

Quiet walkways 2.0 
Blue Ridge Parkway map 2.0 

Cigarette butts 1.9 

Giardia 1.2 

Wilderness creed .9 

Horseback riding .8 
Blue Ridge Pkway broch. .8 

Mountain photo .7 

Peanuts cartoon .5 

Bird photo .4 

"Mark your gear" . 1 

Dog-heat exhaustion .1 



Unobt 


rusive 


Observation 


(N=744) 


0r£ 


il 
Re 




Total 


% Looked 


at ar 


•tide 

— Scanned— 

15.9 


Interview (N=211) 
called article 


50.5 


34.5 


14.7 


42.9 








22.6 




20.3 






16.2 


25.7 








15.0 




10.6 






21.8 


13.4 








8.6 




4.8 






4.7 


10.2 








3.1 




7.1 






4.3 


8.9 








4.3 




4.6 






1.4 


8.3 








2.2 




6.2 






1.9 


8.1 








4.7 




3.4 






3.8 



.7 


7.0 


3.6 


3.0 


2 


3.1 


1.9 


2.3 


1.6 


2.2 


1.3 


1.7 


1.7 


.8 


1.7 


.7 


1.3 


.9 


.7 


1.3 


1.3 


.7 


16.0 


.3 


.4 


.8 


.8 


.1 


.4 


.4 


.7 


.1 


.1 


.5 


.3 


.3 


.3 


.1 





.1 





.1 



5 


.2 


3 


.3 




.5 


2 


.3 


3 


.8 


3 


.8 


( 


3 


1 


.4 


1 





3 


.3 




5 


8 


.5 




J 




5 


1 


.9 




3 




.5 




3 


1 


.0 


1 


.4 


1 


.4 



—This column = % read + % scanned; £.'Read = person spent enough time looking at article 
to have read it; i.ocanned= person spent only enough time looking at article to have 
briefly scanned it. 

Source: Sugarlands bulletin board before treatment questionnaire and unobtrusive 
observation 

25 



Table 16. Use of bulletin board articles after design change. 

Unobtrusive Observation (N=686) 

Oral interview (N=220) 

% Recalled article 







% L. 


ooked at 


article 


Article 


Total 


u 


Read- / 


Scanned— 


General park map 


36.6 




17.6 


19 


Safety cartoons 


28.4 




18.2 


10.2 


Park features 


24.6 




9.3 


15.3 


Activities 


21.6 




12.1 


9.5 


Area map 


11.2 




5.7 


5.5 


Regional map 


9.2 




5 


4.2 


Plan visit 


5.7 




2 


3.6 


Gatlinburg map 


5.1 




2.2 


2.9 


Kids! 


4.8 




4.2 


.6 


Health and safety 


4.5 




3.4 


1.2 



43.2 

56.4 

45 

45 

22.3 

13.6 

6.8 
15.4 

8.6 
15.9 



1/ 2/ 

— This column = L read + % scanned; — Read = person spent enough time looking 

at article to read it; ^/Scanned - person spent only enough time looking at 

article to have briefly scanned it. 

Source: Sugarlands bulletin board after treatment questionnaire and unobtrusive 
observation 



26 



CONCLUSIONS 

The study has demonstrated that the visitors to GRSM are not greatly affected 
by the media studied. A lot more messages are sent than are received. There is 
significant room for improvement in the way the media are used and the way they 
are marketed. All types of media studied have significant but unmet potential to 
effectively communicate with the visitors. They have the capability of affecting 
the behavior of a significant portion of the visiting public. All the media 
applications studied need to be exposed to professional expertise to ensure that 
their potential is met. The degree of sophistication necessary to maximize their 
use cannot be expected to be found strictly within park staff. 

There needs to be a cohesive and coherent communications strategy developed for 
respect of visitor management and public relations. A communications plan should 
be developed for all horizons of public contact, both inside and outside the park 
and encompassing all media from television and radio to literature and signage. 
The plan should run the gamut of management concerns, including visitor services, 
ranger activities, maintenance, science, interpretation, and resources management. 
The plan needs to balance the information priorities for managers and visitors, 
which are clearly not the same. The most important principle in developing the 
communications plan is to define target audiences and priority messages for them 
and then to create clear images using the most appropriate media. For the in-park 
visitor, keep in mind their total experience and how each message contact 
contributes to or distracts from conveying the information needs of those 
visitors. Effective communication is too often lost by information overload, poor 
application of media, and poorly structured or uninteresting messages. To put it 
simply, managers need to think more like visitors if they want to reach out and 
touch them. 



27 



BIBLIOGRAPHY AND LITERATURE CITED 

Allen, J. E. 1947. Newspaper designing. New York: Harper and Brothers. 
Amusement Recreation Marketing Services. 1975. Visitor Sampling Survey, Great 

Smoky Mountains National Park. Final Analytic Rep. New York: ARMS, 210 E. 52nd 

St. 
Arnold, E. C. 1981. Designing the total newspaper. New York: Harper and Row. 
Bammel, L. L. ; Bammel, G. Systematic unobtrusive measures. Proc. of Symp.: On 

evaluation strategies; assessing outdoor program effectiveness. Penn State 

HYPER Series No. 12. 
Blahna, D. J.; Roggenbuck, J. W. 1979. Planning interpretation which is "in tune" 

with visitor expectations. J. Interpretation 4(2): 16-19. 
Boulargar, F. D. , and Smith, J. P. 1973. Educational principles and techniques 

for interpreters. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-9. 
Brown, P. J.; Hunt, J. P. 1969. The influence of information signs on visitor 

distribution and use. J. Leisure Res. l(l):79-83. 
Bruch, W. R. 1974. Observation as a technique for recreation research. In L. 

Fisher, ed. Land and Leisure: Concepts in outdoor recreation. Maaroufa Press 

Geogr. Series. Chicago. 
Cherem, G. J. 1977. The professional interpreter: agent for an awakening giant. 

Assoc. Interpretive Nat. J. 2(1):3-16. 
Dick, R. E.j Myklestaad, E.; Wagar, J. A. 1975. Audience attention as a basis 

for evaluating interpretive presentations. USDA Forest Service Res. Paper PNW- 

198. 
Dick, R. E. ; McKee, D. T.; Wagar, J. A. 1974. Summary and annotated bibliography 

of communication principles. J. Environ. Education 5(4):8-13. 
Dillman, D. 1978. Mail and telephone survey: the total design method. New 

York, Wiley Press. 
Dygert, W. B. 1939. Radio as an advertising medium. New York: McGraw Hill. 
Edwards, Y. 1976. Interpretation: What should it be? J. Interpretation 

l(l):l-4. 
Erskine, D. J. 1964. Audiovisual materials in interpretive programs. Trends 

1(1):11-12. 
Evans, H. 1974. Editing and design, A five-volume manual of English, Typography, 

and Layout. Book 3, News headlines. London: William Heineman Ltd. 
Evans, H. 1974. Editing and design, a five-volume manual of English, Topography, 

and Layout. Book 5, Newspaper design. London: William Heineman Ltd. 
Feldman, R. L. 1975. Effectiveness of audiovisual media for environmental 

interpretation to recreating motorists. Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell 

University, Ithaca, NY. 
Field, D. R. ; Wagar, J. A. 1973. Visitor groups and interpretation in parks 

and other outdoor leisure settings. J. Environ. Education 5(1) 
Flesch, R. 1949. The art of readable writing. New York: Harper and Row. 
Garcia, M. R. 1981. Contemporary newspaper design: a structural approach. 

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 
Gibert, S. 1983. Bulletin board design for interpreters. Unpubl. manuscript. 
Goyer, R. S. 1954. Oral communications: studies in listening. Audiovisual 

Communications Rev. 2(4) 
Greenburg, B. S. 1966. Some effects of variation in message quality. Journalism 

Q. 43:486-492. 
Hanna, J. W. ; Silvey, V. A. 1978. Visitor observations for interpretive 

programming. Texas Agricultural Exp. Stn. Tech. Rep. No. 78-9, Texas A&M, 

College Station. 



28 



Harvard Post. 1978. How to produce a small newspaper. Massachusetts: Harvard 

Common Press. 
Hayward, D. G. ; W. A. Weitzer. 1981. Conceptual challenges to interpretive 

research. Proc . AIN/WIA National Workshop, Sept. 1981. 
Horn, G. F. 1962. Bulletin boards. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corp. 
Hunt, J. D. ; P. J. Brown. Who can read our writing? J. Environ. Education 2(4). 
Keller, P. N. 1970. Major findings in listening in the past ten years. J. 

Communications 10(10:29-38. 
Loomis, E. A.; L. P. Meyer. 1959. Observation and recording: a simultaneous 

process. Am. J. Orthopsychiatry 29:574-582. 
Machlis, G. ; S. Machlis. 1974. Creative design for bulletin boards. Cooperative 

Park Studies Unit, Univ. Washington, Seattle. 
Mahaffey, B. D. 1970. Effectiveness and preference for selected interpretive 

media. J. Environ. Education 1( 14) : 125-128. 
McCombs, M. E. 1979. Using mass communications theory. 
McLuhan, M. 1964. Understanding media. New York: McGraw Hill. 
Mills, V. 1967. Making posters. London: Watson-Gupt il . 

Minor, E. 1978. Hardbook for preparing visual media. New York: McGraw-Hill. 
Murphy, J. 1980. Handbook of radio advertising. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Co. 
Nelson, R. P. 1967. The design of advertising. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown. 
Olson, E. C. ; M. L. Bowman. 1983. Interpretive programming as a management tool. 

Proc. AIN Annual Conf. 
Ormrod, R. K. 1984. Orienting park visitors. Parks and Recreation, Mar. 1984. 
Porter, W. C. 1982. The value of readability studies. Editor and Publisher 

115(18):84. 
Randall, R. ; E. C. Haines. 1961. Bulletin boards and display. Worcester, MA: 

Davis Publications. 
Read, H. 1972. Communications: methods for all media. University of Illinois 

Press, Urbana. 
Reyburn, J. H. ; D. M. Knudson. 1975. Influence of advertising on attendance at 

park programs. J. Environ. Education 7(2):59-64. 
Seehafer, G. F. ; J. W. Laemmar. 1959. Successful radio and television 

advertising. New York: McGraw-Hill. 
Shiner, J. W. ; E. L. Shafer, Jr. 1975. How long do people look at and listern 

to forest oriented exhibits? USDA Forest Service Res. Paper NE 325. 
Silvy, V. 1979. Evaluating interpretive programs and program effectiveness. 

Proc. Symp. on Evaluation Strategies: Assessing Outdoor Program Effectiveness. 

The Pennsylvania State Univ. HYPER Series 12, p. 175-188. 
Travers, R. M. 1967. Research and theory related to audio visual information 

transmission. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare. 
Underhill, A. H. 1984. Grand Canyon National Park Visitor. Tech. Rep. No. 14, 

National Park Service CPSU, Univ. Arizona, Tucson. 
Wagar, J. A. 1971. Communicating with recreationists. Recreation Symp. Proc, 

USDA Forest Service, NE Forest Exp. Stn., Upper Darby, PA. 
Wagar, J. A. 1972. Evaluating interpretation and interpretive media. Paper 

presented to Assoc. Interpretive Naturalists, Pine Mountain, GA. 
Wagar, J. A. 1976. Cassette tapes for interpretation. USDA Forest Service 

Res. Paper PNW-207. 
Washburne, R. R. ; J. A. Wagar. 1972. Evaluating visitor response to exhibit 

content. Curators 15(3). 
Washburne, R. F. 1971. Visitor response to interpretive facilities at five 

visitor centers. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Washington. 
Webb, E. J.; D. T. Campbell, R. D. Schwartz; L. Sechrest. 1966. Unobtrusive 

measures: nonreactive research in the social sciences. Chicago:Rand McNally. 
Wilken, E. 1981. Studies show newspaper/wire copy hits 11th grade; freshman 

level. Editor and Publisher 114(40) :28. 
Winzler, E. R. ; G. J. Cherem. 1976. Interpretive research: a bibliography. 

Assoc. Interpretive Naturalists. 

29 



APPENDIX A. 
A GUIDE TO IMPROVING COMMUNICATIONS WITH PARK VISITORS 



30 



THE PARK NEWSPAPER 

Role in Communications . The park newspaper is the primary vehicle available 
to managers for conveying detailed information to visitors. No other medium 
generated at the park level has as great a potential to affect behavior patterns. 
It is the primary voice of the Superintendent in the park. 

Principles of Application . Because the newspaper has the potential to play 
such a pivotal role in communications to visitors, the design and distribution 
strategy is most critical to realizing its maximum value. Such a strategy should 
involve the following elements: 

1. Set message priorities. The first and foremost principle driving the design 
is to set priorities for messages to be conveyed. These messages should reflect 
both manager and visitor perspectives, as discussed in the previous section. The 
scope of relevant messages under consideration should be derived from all phases 
of park operations. Although visitor services have traditionally been the focal 
point, consideration should also be given to rangers, resources management, 
maintenance, and science. A message's priority should be reflected by its place 
in the newspaper layout. 

2. Choose a format which best displays the nature of your priority messages. 
The tabloid format (usually 11-1/2 x 14-1/2 inches) is easily departmentalized. 
It assists in clear and coherent organization of contents. The individual pages 
are easier to design. Tabloids can also exploit a center spread (Evans 1974). 

A broadsheet format (14-1/2 x 23-1/2 inches) can carry more text without 
continuing to another page. It can project a wide range of news at one time in 
an obvious order of priority. It also allows bigger pictures and better graphics 
(Evans 1974). This format might lend itself better if management wants 
substantive articles on a variety of management issues. 

3. Take maximum advantage of the front page. The front page is the most critical 
design concern because it is the primary point of attention for the reader. The 
highest priority messages should appear here. If a Superintendent wants to 
communicate in depth with the visitor, this is his or her most effective forum. 

The upper left-hand corner is the primary optical area. Fill it with an 
attention getter. A picture is best, but the layout should not always be the 
same. Next, place the main story, if it didn't go in the top left. Traditionally, 
this goes in the top right. Arrange secondary stories on the page to lead down 
to the lower right corner, following the reading diagonal. Finally, anchor the 
lower left corner with a strong item; the beginning of a softer feature, a 
secondary picture, or the like (Harvard Post 1978). 

The signal-and-text front page is the classical modern front page, where a 
selection of the items judged most important in the spot news category is signaled 
by both headlines and positioning in a clear scale of priority and supported with 
text. Items of less importance are placed inside. The poster front page puts 
as many headlines as possible on the front page without supporting text. This 
style displays as much as possible to attract reader interest. A summary index 
combines posters and signal and text front page styles. It contains capsules of 
news which are fully treated inside. It provides a useful summary for the busy 
reader. This style is most appropriate for a larger paper covering many topics 
(Evans 1974). 



31 



4. Don't be afraid to use attention-getting headlines. Their purpose is to 
distill the news. They must be specific. The editor must decide on the basic 
point of the story before writing the headline (Evans 1974). 

5. If you have plenty of space, a two-page spread has advantages. It allows the 
clear display of complex events, schedules, or maps. Starting at the top left 
corner of a two-page spread, the eye moves to the lower right corner on the 
reading diagonal. In order to attract the eye to the copy not directly in that 
line, the layout editor must position "magnets" in the form of headlines or other 
display elements (Harvard Post 1978). The eye must not be drawn immediately into 
center of the page. It is against "reading gravity" to go from the center to the 
top of the page (Arnold 1981). 

6. Select a masthead which clearly identifies the tabloid as the official park 
newspaper. Fig. A-l illustrates the difficulty of picking out the official GRSM 
park newspaper from a pile of tourist information newspapers and brochures. Can 
you identify the park newspaper? 

7. Aggressively market the paper. Get it in the hands of the visitors. This 
is much easier in parks with entrance gates where visitors must stop. At GRSM, 
it will require a variety of techniques to raise awareness of its availability. 

8. Assess the text readability. The Fog index is a simple way to assess 
readability. The following is taken from Van Dersal (1962). 

To use the Fog index, count off 100 words in the material. Then figure the 
average sentence length of the sample, stopping with the sentence ending nearest 
the 100-word mark. Do this by dividing the number of words by the number of 
sentences. Then figure the percentage of hard words. Hard words are those of 
three syllables or more. Do not count capitalized words such as Paris or 
President. Do not count words that have a third syllable when -ed or -es are 
added to them (like "expected" or "refuses"). The index is figured in the 
following way: In a 100-word sample, the number of hard words can be used 
directly as the percentage. Add the percentage of hard words to the average 
sentence length. Then multiply the sum by .4 to get the grade level at which the 
sample is written. 

In our example, we took the two articles on the front page of the summer 
newspaper. In the first, "Just Listen," there were 106 words in five sentences 
for an average sentence length of 21.1. There was one hard word. So, (21.1 + 
1) x .4 = 8.8. The article was written on approximately a 9th grade level. The 
second article, "Barns," had 103 words in five sentences for an average sentence 
length of 20.6. There were 8 hard words. So, (20.6 + 8) x .4 = 11.4. The article 
was written on approximately an 11th grade level. A study of big city newspapers 
and wire services revealed these media to be written on approximately a 12th grade 
level (Wilkens 1981). However, a study of big city newspapers and wire services 
revealed these media to be written on approximately a 12th grade level (Wilkens 
1981). However, a study of the Worcester (Mass.) Evening Gazette showed it to be 
written on a 9th grade level, on average (Porter 1982). 



32 




Fig. A-l . Official Great Smoky Mountains National Park newspaper amid pile of 
tourist publications. 



33 



THE PARK RADIO 



Role in Communications. The GRSM system of short range radio stations has 
the potential to reach a greater percentage of park visitors (particularly 
first-timers) than any other medium available to park management. This is 
particularly true at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, since there are no 
mandatory entrance stations from which to contact visitors as they enter the 
park. The radio provides the means to penetrate the sanctity of the visitor's 
private environment where most of the park visit is likely to take place — inside 
the vehicle. Unlike the newspaper, the radio message can convey only a limited 
quantity of information. The signal range is about one mile, and only major 
messages are likely to be retained. Careful consideration of message content is 
needed to achieve the greatest benefit from the radios within the context of the 
entire communications strategy for the park visitor. The radio cannot be "all 
things to all people." A diluted message is much less likely to be received and 
retained. 



Principles of Application . Several good publications are available 
concerning production of radio commercials (Dygert 1938, Seehafer 1959, Murphy 
1980). Certainly, the park radio message need not be hard sell, but the tricks 
of the trade are most helpful in getting the message through. Probably the 
greatest constraint of the park application is that the message runs continously, 
so that most users will not start listening at the beginning of the message. 
The following radio message produced for this study is used here to demonstrate 
principles of radio advertising relevant to park radio messages: 

You're now on the Cherokee Orchard Road. Soon, you'll see the homesites 
of the mountain families who first settled here. Stop your car and use your 
senses. Listen to a red squirrel chattering or a wood thrush singing. Feel 
the cool air or the spray from a waterfall. 

There are many places to s(;op here. Three of the most popular are the Bud 
Ogle Farm, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and Grotto Falls. Make your 
first stop the Bud Ogle Farm, just ahead on the right. Walk the trail there. 
Explore a typical mountain farmstead and experience feelings or kinship with 
these mountain farmers. This short trail takes you into a cool old-growth 
forest with ghostlike remnants of the once might chestnut trees. It leads to 
a secluded tub mill once powered by water tumbling from Mount LeConte. 

Next, drive the five-mile Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This one-way road 
begins halfway around the Cherokee Orchard Loop and ends in Gatlinburg. At 
the trail entrance, pick up a guidebook that highlights what you will find 
here. Stop at the Grotto Falls trailhead along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature 
Trail. It's an easy 1-1/2 mile walk to a unique waterfall. Stroll along a 
path shaded by giant virgin hemlocks. Walk behind a waterfall's curtain of 
water without getting wet. 

The Bud Ogle Farm, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and Grotto Falls are 
only three of the many enjoyable stops you may make. Stop often at the farms 
and mills of the early mountain people. Get out of your car. Use all your 
senses to experience the magic of Cherokee Orchard and the Roaring Fork. 



34 



The following principles for developing radio messages in parks are 
illustrated by the above message: 

1. Establish a major theme. A central idea must be clearly defined. What main 
thought do you want to leave with the audience? (Seehafer 1950). Example: 
"Stop your car and use your senses." 

2. Keep the dialogue simple and to the point. Stress a single big idea. 
Eliminate any tongue-twisters, unnecessary multisyllabic words, and flowery 
adjectives (Murphy 1980). 

3. Establish an appropriate tempo and length. A typical range of speed is 
120 to 135 words per minute. Maximum rate of speed should not exceed 135 
words per minute (Seehafer 1959). Maximum length should not exceed two 
minutes. A shorter period is better. Example: The message written for 
this study contained 272 words, taking one minute, 55 seconds. 

4. Anticipate what your audience wants to know. This is not difficult, since 
they made a conscious effort to see out your message at a particular place 
in the park. Example: Information on what to do in the vicinity of 
Cherokee Orchard Road. 

5. Start by getting the listener's attention. Lead with something useful for 
him to know. Example: "You're now on the Cherokee Orchard Road." Zero in 
on the target audience (Murphy 1980). 

6. Secure the interest of the visitor (Seehafer 1959). Follow up the lead 
attention grabber with additional points of interest. Example: "Soon you'll 
see the homesites of the mountain families who first settled here." 

7. Develop an appreciation of rhythmic prose. Translate "eye" pictures to 
"ear" pictures (Dygert 1938). Example: 

"Ghostlike remnants of ... chestnut trees" 

"Listen to red squirrels chattering or wood thrushes singing" 

"Water tumbling from Mount LeConte" 

"Walk behind the . . . curtain of water" 

8. Be specific. The audience is usually more impressed with specific facts 
than with generalities (Seehafer 1959). Example: Three of the most 
popular (places to stop) are ..." 

9. Utilize repetition (Seehafer 1959, Murphy 1980). Example: Three references 
to Ogle Farm, Roaring Fork Trail, and Grotto Falls. 

10. Write for the individual (Seehafer 1959, Murphy 1980). Example: "You're 
now on the Cherokee Orchard Road." 

11. Appreciate mental limitations to listening. Present thoughts in small parcels 
that can be readily apprehended. Example: "Walk the trail there." 

12. Finish with a request for action (Seehafer 1959, Murphy 1980). Example: 
"Get out of your car. Use all your senses..." 

13. Finally, and most importantly, seek professional advice in writing copy and 
have it professionally produced. 

35 



PARK BULLETIN BOARDS 

Role in Communications. The often neglected bulletin board can be a powerful 
communication tool. More visitors are likely to look at bulletin boards than to 
read a newspaper or listen to a radio message. Locations are more widely 
distributed throughout the park. They are usable 24 hours a day. Although not 
often used in such a way, they have the potential for visitors to communicate with 
each other via a message board. 

The most common use of bulletin boards in national parks is at visitor centers 
and campgrounds. They play a slightly different role in each setting. At visitor 
centers, the bulletin board plays a supplementary role. Regulations are often 
posted, along with information on health, safety, and emergency service which 
should be available 24 hours a day. Activity schedules, suggestions for good 
citizenship, and resource information are also frequently included. A very useful 
function not usually addressed is to display the key publications available in 
the visitor center which can best answer that perennial question, "What's the best 
way to see the park in a limited amount of time?" In the campgrounds, the 
bulletin boards are often the primary means of communication. Regulations are 
posted, along with a schedule of local interpretive programs and messages on 
health, safety, emergency services, and good citizenship. 

Principles of Application . It is most difficult to isolate a few key 
principles which will enhance the communicative effectiveness of bulletin boards 
under all circumstances. This is primarily due to their diverse applications in 
a park setting and to the large quantity of material that managers want to include 
in the small space available. Having offered this caveat, a list of design 
principles follows. Organized into three major categories, their effectiveness 
is dependent upon a design rationale based on a clear set of message priorities. 
Principles of design focus attention. If your intended use of the space lacks 
focus, the design application will serve little purpose. 

Arrangements: 

1. Do not crowd too much material into one space (Randall and Haines 1961). 

2. Avoid being overly ornate, which involves decoration without reason. 
Material should be presented with emphasis on organization, color, and 
texture, and not on "cuteness" (Randall and Haines 1961). 

3. Surrounding the displays with empty space secures attention and conveys the 
message more effectively (Randall and Haines 1961). 

4. Avoid distracting patchy subject headings. Relate labels. Place 
informational captions in limited areas or units inside the display area, not 
at the edges (Randall and Haines 1961). 

5. Dominance of similar shapes, lines, and space helps to maintain a family 
relationship. Disunity is distracting (Randall and Haines 1961). 

6. Utilize low space for children (Machlis 1974). 



36 



A well-organized board design should generate a feeling of systematic movement 
from one point to another (Horn 1962). Some examples follow: 

a. Informal balance creates more interest than formal balance (Randall and 
Haines 1961). 




Informal balance 



□ 



i , — ~ 



r— i i 



Formal balance 



b. 



Informal arrangement of materials tends to stimulate, excite, and raise 
interest. The strictly formal arrangement of a bulletin board is 
monotonous, restful, ineffective (Horn 1962). 




c. Have a maximum of three focal points per bulletin board (Gibert 1983) 



' I 

i 


i 
i, 

i 

r ... 








37 



The natural movement of the eye is a reverse six. Therefore, all corner 
information should draw the eye back into the body area. If edge photos 
face outward, the eye bleeds off the surface. Though the corner spots are 
important for eye movement, they are the least effective spots for verbal 
messages. They are weak communications areas (Gibert 1983). 



t± 



& 



-"> 



© 



Or-' 



Reverse six 



Line up units within a cluster by matching edges or imaginary lines. 
Centering is not effective (Gibert 1983). Modular design layout allows 
for dividing subjects into broad headings (Machlis 1974). 



Emphasis: 

1. To focus attention on any important item, set it apart with isolating space 
or contrasts in color, texture, or values (Randall and Haines 1961). 

2. Utilize cartoons to convey difficult messsages. An example demonstrating the 
proper method of dealing with a visitor-bear interaction is displayed in 
Fig. A-2. 

3. Use three-dimensional objects. 

4. Point out an important area with a directional device such as an arrow or 
line (Randall and Haines 1961). 

5. Choose a catchy caption (Randall and Haines 1961). 

6. Control eye movement with lines (Horn 1961): 



Diagonal lines for action 

Zig-zag lines for excitement 

Slow-moving, undulating curves for a lazy feeling (Horn 1962) 

38 




Fig. A-2. Cartoon illustrating appropriate and inappropriate visitor behavior 
toward bears. 



39 



7. A limited use of two or three different kinds of display material usually 
leads to more successful design (Horn 1962). 

8. By introducing unusual, uninteresting, largely abstract shapes behind static 
visual material, viewer attention can be tremendously increased. An unusual 
shape behind one illustration leads the eye into the display, but too many 
unusual shapes cause confusion. Similar or related shapes tend to unify. 
Angles and triangles are fast moving. Circles spin (Horn 1962). 

9. Shape may be used to point into the illustration or to lead the eye from it 
to another part of the design (Horn 1962). 

10. Adding a contrasting border or edge line defines the space and draws the eye 
inward to the message. Don't overuse this technique, as it will make the 
space seem choppy, and the reader will only see those doubly highlit messages 
(Gibert 1983). 



Great 
Smoky 
Mountains 
Nat ' 1 Park 



Great 




Smoky 




Mounta 


ins 


Nat' 1 


Park 



Color: 

To be effective, the use of color in bulletin board design must be carefully 
related to the visual material to be displayed. Color should reflect the theme. 
The colors used in a design should neither overpower the material or display nor 
fight with it. The whole color scheme should complement the idea being presented 
(Horn 1962). 

1. To find good color combinations, choose colors that are neighbors on the 
color wheel (Fig. 5). Neutral colors can be used with any combination 
(Machlis 1974). 

2. With colorful print backgrounds, use no more than two colors (red on green, 
blue on orange), except to highlight a special notice temporarily (Gibert 
1982). 

3. Dark and light colors in combination give the best contrast (Minor 1978). 

4. Dark colors next to each other are not recommended (Minor 1978). 

5. White letters next to a dark background are highly eligible (Minor 1978). 

6. Using one dominant color may prove effective. A good rule to follow is "the 
smaller the area, the brighter the color should be" (Minor 1978). 

7. Color combinations also influence legibility. Here are some suggestions for 
good legibility: black on yellow, brown on white, green on white, blue on 
white, black on white, yellow on black, white on red, white on green, red on 
yellow (Minn 1978). 



40 



8. No color works alone; color changes in the neighborhood of another color 
(Randall and Haines 1961). 

9. Unusual color friendships or combinations attract attention (orange and pink) 
(Randall and Haines 1961). 

10. Patterns of colors lead the eye from area to area, giving the sensation of 
movement (Randall and Haines 1961). 




— ___— 


[JroWKi 


beye 


grey 



neiArtxl Colors 



Fig. A-3. The Color Wheel 



41 



Table A- l. GRSM populations sampled for park communications study 



Instrument 

Messages to convey 
by management 

General Media 
Survey 

Radio message 
before treatment 

Radio message 
after treatment 

Bulletin board 
before treatment 

Bulletin board 
before treatment 

Bulletin board 
after treatment 

Bulletin board 
after treatment 



Target 
Population 



Location 



Questionnaire/ Number of 
Observation Respondents 



Managers + Parkwide 
service personnel 



Questionnaire 



92 



Visitors 
park 


exiting 


Sugarlands 
Oconaluf tee 
Townsend 


Questionnaire 


682 


Users of Cher 
Orchard Road 


okee 


Cherokee 
Orchard Road 


Questionnaire 


227 


Users of Cherokee 
Orchard Road 


Cherokee 
Orchard Road 


Questionnaire 


211 


Visitors 
vicinity 


in 




Sugarlands 
Visitor Center 


Questionnaire 


211 


Visitors 
vicinity 


in 




Sugarlands 
Visitor Center 


Unobtrusive 
observation 


995 


Visitors 
vicinity 


in 




Sugarlands 
Visitor Center 


Questionnaire 


220 


Visitors 
vicinity 


in 




Sugarlands 
Visitor Center 


Unobtrusive 
observation 


1012 



TOTAL = 3650 



Table A-2. Sampling periods for GRSM park communications study. - 



1/ 











Number 


of 


sampl 


ing 


periods 


by 


mon 


th 






Survey 
Instrument 


June 
M A 


2/ 

E 


July 
M A 


E 




August 
MAE 




September 
MAE 


Total 


Exit (interview) 


7 


8 


4 


4 


6 


3 




3 


4 


3 













42 


Radio 

( interview) — ' 


2 


2 


1 


1 


1 







3 


3 


3 













16 
































3/ 
Bulletin board — 


4 


3 


4 


2 


2 


2 




3 


5 


1 




1 





1 


28 


( interviews) 

































Bulletin board 
(observation) 



4 4 5 



2 2 2 



3 4 1 







27 



1/ 



2/ 



Each sampling period was 3 hours 

M = Morning 
A = Afternoon 
E = Evening 



3/ 

— Bulletin board & radio messages were changed for testing in mid-July 1983. 

42 



Table A-3. Subject content of radio station messages in GRSM, 



Station Locations 
Number of sentences (7 of all sentences) 





























T3 




•o 












a 






l-i 




M 












r— ( 






CO 


**** 


CO 




<u 








X) 






JZ 


u 


X 




E 








.-o 






o 


c 


o 




o 








^ 




0) 


u 


a) 


M 


^■s 


Q 








•w 


<u 


<u 


o 


E 


O 


4-1 






* 




CO 


> 


J3 




4-1 




c 


i/l 




ai 




> 


o 


o 


<1J 


CO 


QJ 


(J 


C 




<y 




CO 


CJ 


o 


<u 


OJ 


ai 


e 


CO 




u 


4-1 


4-1 




o 


a 


u 


^ 


4-1 


E 




CJ 


c *■«. 


c w 


w 


^ 


o 


u 


o 


CO 


00 


>s 




o — i 


o <u 


<D 


CO 


u 


(D 


u 


<u 


c 


£l 


a. 


E -• 


E 4-1 


•o 


u 


<u 


M 


<u 


U 


•I-) 


m 


ai 


JX 3 


.* ^ 


« 


CO 


X. 


a 


x: 


4-1 


1— 1 


O 


a) 


— 1 Uj 


--J LO 


U 


C_> 


u 


s^ 


o 


W 


u 


o 


a 


W w 


UJ ^— ■ 



Subject Category 

Regulations 1(6) 11(33) 3(12) 9(31) 4(16) 3(12) 4(13) 

Road directions 2(12) 2(8) 1(4) 

Facilities (Ranger 2(14) 5(12) 

stations, lodging, 
visitor centers, 
etc. 

Natural and cultural 12(70) 16(55) 15(60) 21(91) 7(50) 4(14) 3(12) 7(28) 10(33) 
history interp. 

Campground information 5(17) 3(12) 5(20) 6(20) 

Interpretive schedule 1(6) 2(7) 4(16) 2(8) 2(7) 

Location of trails 1(3) 4(16) 1(4) 4(28) 4(14) 3(12) 2(8) 2(7) 

Safety 1(4) 1(7) 1(3) 1(4) 4(16) 4(13) 

Where to go for more 2(7) 1(4) 1(4) 1(3) 

information 



Other 1(6) 1(3) 2(7) 3(12) 1(4) 1(3) 



Total # sentences 


17 


29 


25 


23 


14 


29 


25 


25 


30 


Total # words 


380 


425 


387 


272 


307 


415 


409 


442 


486 



43 



Table A-3 (cont.) 



Station Locations 
Number of sentences (% of all sentences) 



Subject Category 

Regulations 

Road directions 

Facilities 

Natural and cultural 
history interp. 

Campground information 

Interpretive schedule 

Location of trails 

Safety 

Where to go for more 
information 

Solicitation by 
organizations 

Other 

Total # sentences 
Total # words 













*~\ 
















<U 






<u 










^H 






> 










XI 






o 










« 






a 




a 


0) 










u 




o 


a) 




at 


CO 




a> 


M 




4J 


u 


*j > 


T3 




•<-> 





~o 


IM 


c 


c « 


c 


T> 


u 


o 


c 


3 


o -—. 


o 


*8 


C 


X) 


on 


3 


i— I 


e -• 


E <n 


i— t 


a) 


c 




o 


M 


d) i— i 


<U <D 


u 


(A 


<u 


M 


U-l 


C 


J* 3 


.* 4J 


CO 


c 


0) 


o 


3 


o 


o U. 


O -H 


00 


3 


u 


o 


0) 


o 


e w 


e w 


3 


o 


o 


J 


z 


o 


CO 


to w 


to 


H 


2(8) 


4(20) 




7(23) 


10(34) 


11(35) 


7(25) 




3(12) 


7(35) 




1(3) 






2(7) 


3(25) 


3(12) 






2(6) 






3(11) 


3(25) 



9(38) 4(20) 27(96) 7(23) 5(17) 5(16) 4(14) 4(33) 



2(10) 

4(17) 

3(12) 1(4) 
1(5) 



3(10) 7(24) 5(16) 

2(7) 2(6) K8) 

1(3) 1(3) 2(6) 1(4) 

2(7) 2(6) 

2(6) 1(3) 3(10) 5(18) 1(8) 



4(13) 



4(14) 



2(10) 



4(13) 1(3) 1(3) 2(7) 



24 20 28 31 29 31 28 12 
395 303 372 501 430 471 473 232 



44 



Table A-4. Use of bulletin boards by location, 



Location % of Total Use — 

Sugarlands 36 

Cades Cove 24 

Elkmont 18 

Smokemont 7 

Abrams Creek 6 

Oconaluftee 5 

Clingmans Dome 4 

Chimneys 2 

Balsam Mountain 2 

Look Rock 1 

Cosby 1 

Deep Creek 1 

Big Creek 1 



— Total does not equal 100% due to rounding 
Source: 1983 General Media questionnaire 



45 




As the Nation's 
Department of the In 
our nationally owned 
This includes foster 
water resources, pro 
ing the environment 
parks and historical 
ment of life through 
assesses our energy 
assure that their de 
al 1 our people. The 
bi 1 i ty for American 
people who 1 i ve in i 
stration. 



principal conservat 
terior has responsib 

public lands and na 
ing the wisest use o 
tecting our fish and 
and cultural value o 

places, and providi 

outdoor recreation, 
and mineral resource 
velopment is in the 

Department also has 
Indian reservation c 
sland territories un 



ion agency, the 
i 1 i ty for most of 
tural resources, 
f our land and 

wildlife, preserv- 
f our national 
ng for the enjoy- 
The Department 
s and works to 
best interests of 

a major responsi- 
ommunities and for 
der U.S. admini- 



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE 

SCIENCE PUBLICATIONS OFFICE 

75 SPRING ST., S.W. 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30303 



POSTAGE AND FEES PAID 

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 

INT-417 



OFFICIAL BUSINESS 
PENALTY FOR PRIVATE USE $300